HIGH Street businesses have responded to news that work will go ahead this summer to permanently open up Holywell’s main shopping street to vehicles.
Flintshire County Council announced on Wednesday, July 17, that the de-pedestrianisation of Holywell’s High Street will go ahead – despite a shortfall in funding for the project even with successful bids to Welsh Government’s transport fund and to both the town and county council’s capital funds.
Russ Warburton, chair of the Holywell Town Business Group, spoke on behalf of the businesses that run through Holywell’s High Street and Tower Gardens and said that retailers are delighted that the work will commence on the scheme in early August.
He added: “Flintshire County Council, Holywell Town Council and the Holywell Town Business Group have worked tirelessly on this scheme to bring it to fruition.
“We would also like to thank the community of Holywell for supporting us throughout the trial period, the many petitions, surveys and letters of support that they have completed, without them, we would not have got this far.
“We would like to thank Carolyn Thomas and her team at Flintshire County Council and also Holywell Town Council for agreeing to fund the scheme, although we are disappointed in the lack of support received from the Welsh Government, we will continue to lobby them to help complete the funding for this.”
The Leader reported a statement from Flintshire County Council that said, given the timescales and the deterioration of the road surface since the temporary changes were introduced, officers have made a decision to progress the scheme immediately.
Cllr Carolyn Thomas, council deputy leader and cabinet member for Streetscene and countryside said: “I am pleased to announce that the scheme will go ahead, albeit in a revised form and hope this will provide some certainty both to the local businesses and residents in the town.
“There is still a shortfall in terms of budget but I will continue to lobby Welsh Government for the final element of the funding for the scheme.”
The High Street has been wholly pedestrianised since 1992 and only delivery vehicles could drive down it up until a six-month trial period was launched to assess the value of a long-term change to the traffic arrangements on the road.
At this time, a petition containing more than 500 names was presented to Flintshire County Council supporting the removal of the pedestrianisation order in 2018.
The temporary traffic order came to an end on December 31 that year.
Now, the scheme will be constructed in a scaled down form to ensure that all of the work is completed before the Christmas trading period in December.